It is quite true that some Scripture texts imply that the bestowal of the final reward or punishment takes place at the Second Coming of Christ in the General Judgement (Matthew 25:31). They do not, however, show that the Beatific Vision, and therefore the essence of heavenly bliss, is not granted to disembodied souls. It is indeed true that final blessedness and consummated glory are bestowed only when the soul rejoins the body. Only then, and not before, will our complete humanity receive its ultimate perfection and joy, and our blessed Lord’s words will be fulfilled: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, posses ye the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” On the other hand, it must be remembered that Christ on Good Friday was asked: “Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom,” and answered: “Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” It is noteworthy that Christ did not use in his reply the phrase “in my kingdom,” as the request of the Penitent Thief suggested. The fullness of Christ’s kingship and the complete establishment of his kingdom takes place when, as Man, he will rule over men in heaven. His sway over disembodied souls is not the full manifestation of his royalty. Nevertheless, before that day the Blessed will be with him in Paradise. The precise extent of the paradisial bliss with Christ the Scriptures do not define, though they suggest that it includes substantially and in essence man’s great reward.
“Paradise” need not mean “place of eternal blessedness experienced by the righteous dead” - it can also mean a place of similar character, on earth: such as the garden of Eden, which the Septuagint calls a paradeisos tes truphes or paradise of pleasure (eden = “pleasure”). Paradeisos is from a Persian word for a walled garden, like the “garden enclosed” in the Song of Songs.
This is on the assumption that the verse in Luke - Luke 23.43 - is genuine; some witnesses to the text omit it, probably because this is only hint of sympathy for Jesus from those crucified with him; as well as because it could be read as contradiction of the Ascension-accounts in Luke 24 & Acts 1, both of which are ascribed to Luke. However, it fits the universalistic theology of Luke, & it is easier to account for the omission of the verse, than for its being introduced into a text of which it formed no part.